[P2P-F] Fwd: [opennetcoalition] Trade Secrets: We Must Act To Protect Whistleblowers!

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Sat Mar 7 09:00:13 CET 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: La Quadrature du Net <contact at laquadrature.net>
Date: Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 9:21 PM
Subject: [opennetcoalition] Trade Secrets: We Must Act To Protect
To: opennetcoalition at laquadrature.net


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link:

Trade Secrets: We Must Act To Protect Whistleblowers!

*** Paris, 3 March 2015 — In late April 2015, the “trade secrets” directive
will be discussed in the European Parliament. Having already given in to
the pressure of journalists to remove the article on trade secrets in the
French Macron Bill, La Quadrature du Net, Pila and a number of other
organisations now call on president François Hollande and European
representatives to defend whistleblowers, to define and protect their
status and to ensure the necessary means are provided for judiciary
follow-up on the crimes and offences that are revealed. The situation of
whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, is often
dramatic and they must be protected and their safety guaranteed in order to
safeguard fundamental freedoms. ***

On 30 January, following the uproar of French journalists, French President
François Holland demanded [1] the article on trade secrets be removed from
the Macron Bill. Despite this victory for the freedom to inform and
denounce the illicit activities of private corporations, whistleblowers
remain threatened. Indeed, the current draft [2] of a European directive to
be debated at the end of April in the European Parliament criminalises the
violation of trade secrets in Europe, without an effective protection of
whistleblowers. In order to raise awareness on the dangers weighing on the
freedom to inform, La Quadrature du Net along with other organisations has
penned an op-ed in yesterday's Libération (fr) [3] and a open letter letter
to the French President.

In May 2008 and February 2011, Wikileaks leaked to the press the draft
versions of ACTA, a multi-lateral agreement which was denounced by La
Quadrature du Net until its striking demise [4] before the European
Parliament in July 2012. In July 2013, Edward Snowden, then working for the
NSA, left the USA to take refuge in Hong-Kong and entrust journalists Glenn
Greenwald and Laura Poitras with thousands of documents proving mass spying
of communications, including those of its own citizens, by the USA and its
allies. Even though their contribution to the democratic debate have been
crucial and the scandals they revealed huge, Julian Assange, Chelsea
Manning, Edward Snowden and many other whistleblowers have been and
continue to be persecuted for their actions.

The directive [5] intended to be discussed in late April in the European
Parliament could dramatically worsen the risks weighing on the citizens who
make the publication of these crucial documents possible. It contains heavy
sanctions against any person infringing on trade secrets, all without
precisely defining a particular status for whistleblowers which would not
only protect but also support them.

“Thanks to Edward Snowden's revelations on the mass surveillance of
communications, to those of Swissleaks on how banking confidentiality is
abused or those of Luxleaks on how large corporations find arrangements
with taxes in Europe, the EU is discovering the importance of
whistleblowers and the possibility to denounce crimes, offences and the
lack of moral limits in private corporations and public structures. It is
unacceptable that these same whistleblowers be threatened with sanctions by
the Members of the European Parliament in the name of protecting private
interests! On the contrary, it is urgent to help protect them and finally
create proper procedures for investigating the crimes and offenses that
they reveal to the public eye.” declared Benjamin Sonntag, co-founder of La
Quadrature du Net.

See the common op-ed on Libération (fr):

* References *


** About La Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and
freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for
the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding
principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge.

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better
understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and
pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage
citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the
digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international
NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society
Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations:

** Press contact and press room **

contact at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)972 294 426


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